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Decent Work, Social Inclusion, and Development
Gerry Rodgers
This paper first summarizes some of the key global trends in work and employment. Despite increased growth in the global economy in recent years, the problems of unemployment and inadequate employment remain severe, as is reflected in the numbers of the “working poor” and widespread problems of insecurity and inequality. At the same time, a minority is benefiting substantially from new global opportunities, and some countries are doing much better than others. The paper then reviews some of the factors which may underlie these trends, including changes in the level and composition of international trade and the growth of global production systems. The restructuring of production globally is changing the pattern of employment, creating new types of jobs and destroying others. Our information on these issues, however, is patchy, and more systematic research is needed. In order to interpret these trends and understand their policy implications, it is necessary to consider broader goals in the world of work. The paper studies two influential goals, “decent work” and “social inclusion”, examines how they are affected by global economic and labour market trends, and explores how they can be integrated in the global labour and social policy agenda, and in particular, how they can help develop strategies to manage the social impact of globalization. The paper concludes with some reflections on the implications of this analysis for the design of coherent social models, which can accommodate both economic and social goals.

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